Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 27 (6/13) Oh I Would Walk 500 Miles

I slept right next to the trail last night, and fully expected to wake up to one or more hikers passing me. That never happened, and I spent most of the day in solitude. I didn't expect this now that I'd caught up to more of the pack, but it is always nice to be alone with your thoughts. Sometimes you just space out and enjoy the scenery, watch the clouds, hum a sing, or guess how far ahead the person who made those footsteps is. Other times your mind will run at top speed, thinking through a million things at once. I had some of both today, jumbled together. The song Leader of the Band came to me and it made me think a lot about my dad. If you're not familiar with the song, now is the time to go to youtube and listen. It is part of one verse that really struck me "I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go. I thank you for the kindness, and the times when you got tough. And papa I don't think I said I love you near enough." Man, that one got to me, and I started tearing up a bit, do maybe it was a good thing I was solo today. I got lost in my thoughts of how great my family is, and how much they mean to me. One of my greatest desires is to someday provide my kids with as awesome a childhood as I've been blessed with, and I truly do hope I can be as great a father as my dad has been, and that I find a wife who is as amazing a mutter as my own mom.

Well, with all this emotional thought going on, I happened to misread the water report, and ended up staring at I scummy water tank with no flow at all. Shoot, the good tank was 4 mikes back but I'd swapped then in my head. I may have mentioned that my standards for water have changed a lot out here, but there was no way o was drinking that stuff without a real filter. Last night I'd been forced to use the bandana filter method to get rid of some bad floaties, but even that would've been insufficient. I chose to go in the next four miles on less than a liter, banking on the fact that it was reported as a good source.

Fortunately for me it was, and I drank my fill after treating it with iodine, as is the usual precaution out here to prevent picking up some nasty stomach bugs. After lunch there I dropped down to the creek and the road where I ran into Good Karma and Boyscout. Both of them were hiking from the heat before heading in to hikertown, but since I didn't need the rest I pushed ahead. The next section paralleled a hunting club, so there were plenty of signs advising that I stay on the trail. Not more than half a mike past this section, I did in fact lose the trail. I came out to a dirty road which was not on the  map, but having little choice, I followed it, looking for the trail. I waked along it for several miles before finally seeing the trail back up in the hills. In that time I had run into two sets of cows; the first group of four just stared at me, but the second group of ten took of and ran until they were out of sight. That was a kind unnerving as I half expected a stampede to reappear over the ridgeline heading straight for me. They didn't, and I made it back safely to the PCT. From there it was only a few miles to the highway and Hikertown, so I booked it all the way there, arriving around 5. There was already a decent sized group there of people I'd met at the Anderson's, and they were getting ready to go out for dinner. Well, I couldn't miss that, so as soon as Karna and Boyscout showed up, we all headed to the diner. I ordered two polishes, plus a hotdog, and a fountain drink that was refilled about a dozen times. I worked my way through all that food, even with the fact that they put mayo on all three... Strange, but it was okay. I got a mango ice cream bar for the ride back, and then dealt with my resupply box. Because I keep eating off trail, I've slowly accumulated extra food, but I hate to toss it, so my food bag keeps expanding. This time it was once again so large that I had to hang my sleeping bag from the outside of my pack.

The next section of trail has a reputation for being extremely brutal because you go 17 shadeless miles across the Mojave before coming to water. The consensus was that night hiking was the best solution, so that is exactly what we set off to do. Since it was separate from the hiking today, I've chosen to break that into its own post.

Miles Today: 20
Trip Mileage: 518

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